Why you don't hear "one county, one vote:" In a front-page report in yesterday's Washington Post, Miller and Entous addressed some of the points about Russian hacking we ourselves raised on Monday.
They noted the confusion which has arisen from inconsistent use of the term "hacked." Beyond that, they added a fourth possibility to the three we'd listed:
MILLER AND ENTOUS (12/13/16): U.S. intelligence officials said that the Russian government appears to have succeeded in penetrating computer systems associated with both parties but "prioritized" Democratic institutions in a campaign that culminated with the posting of thousands of sensitive emails on the WikiLeaks website.Why didn't the Russians release Republican materials? We don't know, but we'll call this "Possibility 4:"
The CIA briefed the administration that it thinks the Russians "breached" the RNC systems, according to a senior U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. "Obviously there haven't been the same sort of leaks and pilfered documents spread about from this intrusion as there were from the various DNC and related incursions."
Other officials familiar with the CIA's assessment said there is "high confidence" that the RNC was targeted but less certainty that the Russians got inside the committee and stole material.
The explanation for the lack of damaging Republican leaks remains a source of debate across the U.S. intelligence community, but officials think it may reflect in part an allocation of resources and effort by Russian-backed actors who have been tied to the hacking campaign.
Possibility 4: The Russians may have targeted both major parties. But they may have directed more attention at the Dems.Whatever! Of one thing we can be certain. Tremendous efforts will be made to create confusion about these matters. Absent skillful work by journalists, these efforts will succeed.
Our journalists are rarely excessively skillful. On Sunday, Reince Priebus ran circles around Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. At one point, he seemed unwilling to affirm any Russian involvement at all. In all the confusion, he even seemed to suggest that the intelligence community hadn't made any such formal statement.
Todd failed to note the October 7 statement in which the intelligence community formally said the Russians were the agents. In the course of all the confusion, Todd seemed to support Priebus' suggestion that no one except anonymous sources has made any such claim.
On Monday night, Brian Williams got waylaid in an even more ridiculous fashion by neocon kingpin James Woolsey.
For unknown reasons, Williams featured Woolsey as a guest on his MSNBC program, The Eleventh Hour. With considerable vigor, Woolsey devoted himself to denying that the Russians interfered with American voting systems—an allegation no one has made.
Williams seemed to have no idea that Woolsey was attacking a straw man; either that, or the handsome anchor simply didn't want to challenge his high-ranking guest. Whatever! Woolsey created tremendous confusion during his solo interview segment. Williams showed no sign of understanding how far afield he'd been taken by his guest.
Priebus was gifted this Sunday by Todd's apparent lack of preparation. That said, Priebus is a determined dissembler. For a bit of comic relief, let's recall the way he tried to support the ridiculous claim that Candidate Trump won a massive "landslide" last month.
Priebus released his ridiculous statement on November 25—exactly one month before Christmas. Here's part of what he said:
PRIEBUS (11/25/16): Nearly three weeks after the presidential election, the numbers showing President-elect Donald J. Trump's commanding victory are coming more fully into focus. He won 306 electoral votes, the most for a Republican since George H. W. Bush in 1988. He carried 9 of 13 battleground states. Millions of Americans rallied behind his message of rebuilding our country and disrupting the status quo. This was a truly national victory.The foolishness continued from there. Let's consider the highlighted statement, which got a fair amount of play over the next few weeks.
Here are some other stats on the scope of his win:
I. A groundswell of popular support:
President-elect Donald J. Trump won over 2,600 counties nationwide, the most since President Reagan in 1984. Additionally, he won over 62 million votes in the popular vote, the highest all-time for a Republican nominee. Voters everywhere wanted Donald J. Trump as their president.
Did Donald J. Trump really win 2600 counties? Yes, he pretty much did, though that doesn't necessarily indicate "a groundswell of popular support."
You see, not all counties are created equal. Here's a list of the nation's six largest:
Population of six American countiesThose are the nation's six largest counties. By way of contrast, here are the population figures for six other counties:
Los Angeles County (Calif.): 9.8 million
Cook County (Ill.): 5.2 million
Harris County (Texas): 4.1 million
Maricopa County (Ariz.): 3.8 million
San Diego County (Calif.): 3.1 million
Orange County (Calif.): 3.0 million
Population of six other American countiesFor the record, we may be overstating the size of some counties. Those figures all come from the 2010 census. By 2012, Loving County's population had dropped to 67.
Blaine County (Neb.): 478
Arthur County (Neb.): 460
Kennedy County (Texas): 416
King County (Texas): 286
Kalawao County (Haw.): 90
Loving County (Texas): 82
Not all counties are created equal! There's a good reason why you've never heard the battle cry, "One county, one vote!"
We live in a time when there's nothing so silly, so bogus or so stupid that people like Priebus won't say it. On Sunday, he took Todd to the cleaners concerning Russian involvement in hacking.
One night later, there was Woolsey, eating Williams alive.
For figure filberts only: According to the leading authority on county size, fourteen U.S. counties top two million in population.
Thirty-five counties have a population under one thousand. Just over 700 counties check in at less than 10,000.
There's nothing a player like Priebus won't say. He'll often say it to a TV star, which means he'll live to make another ridiculous statement on some other day.